Sunday, August 01, 2010

Roze Maandag: Pink Monday

It was exactly two weeks ago today. For months we had already heard of the Tilburg Fair (Tilburgse Kermis) coming in July...Europe's largest movable fair. 2010 was its 201st anniversary.

Astrid and I talked about seeing it, just to say we did it, as a way to see another city in The Netherlands, shooting two birds with one stone. We had also hoped to meet up with another Vision & Verb collaborator who happens to live there (alas, she was on vacation so that didn't happen). Then one of Astrid's co-workers told her about Pink Monday, the "be gay for a day" day at the fair. WhoHoo. Supposedly it's the busiest day of the fair and has been a huge success since its 1990 inception. If we had had pink shirts, we would have worn them, but it was enough for us to walk the 3.5 km walk from beginning to end holding hands. We do that anyway here in The Netherlands, where being gay is legally "accepted." Besides, there was enough pink around to make up for our omission (click to enlarge and then click again):

We were there on the early-evening end of things, leaving home after Astrid's work and arriving by 5:45...only 50 km away. After eating supper there in a sit-down cafe, we had had enough and were ready to leave by 8:00 p.m., before things got started on the entertainment scene. We knew the drag queens would be in rare form, but that's not what we were there for. We just wanted to SEE it...and not necessarily experience the whole thing. Don't you love that the kids get to see this as though it is just another ho-hum fair! I wondered how many of them had two mommies or two daddies?

What immediately astonished me, to be honest, was my first impression after entering the fair--seeing the incongruity of the main church rising in the background as a backdrop:

Now that I think about it, it's like seeing the Church's blessing on what was happening that Pink Monday.

Astrid's co-worker who told her about Pink Monday grew up with a dad who made and repaired the steam-operated, old-timey rides. So that, too, was one of our reasons for attending the fair. We didn't ride a thing, mind you, but had fun seeing what was before our very eyes:

Are there fairs in the States that operate steam rides, I wonder?
And would Nicholas want to ride one now at age 10!

As fairs go, this was as faerie as it ever gets. If we can't take a joke, I always say! Notice that even Granny Towanda butted in on the scene (even though she's still very green behind the ears).

Speaking of Nicholas...when Astrid and I fly to Atlanta in October, we will arrive in time to take him to the fair he has attended every year since age 2. We wouldn't miss it for anything. Maybe this one (though perhaps a bit too pink for then!) was a good appetite whetter, getting us in the mood. But then, how can you ever get out of the mood, right?!


  1. Ginnie,
    I know you study hard, do housework, go grocery shopping - all those sometimes-ho-hum things that are part of an everyday life no matter where it's lived, but man oh man, do you ever give the impression that life is a moveable feast!!

    I pretty much know why this is (all to do with your Attitude!) but it's still lots of fun to see you spreading your joy around.
    The fair alone would have been a big event, but to have it coincide with Pink Monday is just fabulous. Did you get the feeling that it was put on just for you? What I mean by that is that the feeling of INclusion must be wonderful. It would be like a Canada Day might be for me - although that's probably not the best example. But to be recognized and celebrated so publicly for who you are must be kind of special.

    Lots of work went into the collages in this post - wonderful photos! I got a kick out of your comment about the church approving of the goings-on. Way to go, Ginnie!

  2. You regaled us with beautiful collages. I used to love fairs when I was little. My cousin’s families were all fair people (in French they are called “forains” some still are – they go to fairs in Monaco, Strasbourg, etc.) Since I was family I could stay on the merry-go-round all day – what a treat.

    So much pink in your fair – pink is the color for peace and love. I read that if you place a prisoner in a pink room he will not be combative. This fair must have been so much fun for you and Astrid and gave you wonderful feelings. And what fair are you talking about in Atlanta in October? (We are going to New York in mid-October.)

  3. The fair looks like a lot of fun. And oh Tilburg, that is one city I visited and met a friend there. IT's also a big University town...

    Great pics!!! And it probably was a lot of fun just to take pics!

  4. Ola: I have a feeling it was even crazier after we left. :)

    Deborah: I LOVE how you have said that: life is a moveable feast! Ohhhh. How true. If my joy can be passed around, I will be forever delighted because the more you give it away, the more you seem to have. Thank you for that thought.

    The feeling on INclusion will always be important to the gay community, as long as we're NOT included. One day I pray it will not need this focus but will all become ho-hum. One day.

    I love doing these collages and find it such a better way (than my previous albums!) to let y'all see what I've seen on these trips. So thanks for appreciating them. :)

    Vagabonde: I had to laugh about the merry-go-round because the first fair with Nicholas he and I sat on two carousel horses and rode them around and around until will usaed up all our tickets. I'll never forget it. He was too scared of everything else (he was only 2).

    I didn't know pink is the color for peace and love. Most interesting tidbit about how it affects prisoners! The fair in October is the Cumming County Fair which is just fabulous! We can hardly wait. Every October here on this blog I have a post about it. :)

    ET: Yes, Tilburg is a big university town, which may explain why the fair is there each year. I didn't make that connection till just now. And yes, taking these pictures was fun...and enough. :)

  5. Life is a can say that, I am glad I have seen it once, you know me and big crowds, we don't do too well together, but for you I wanted to share this.
    It is enormous and I am glad I saw the music organ my co-worker use to make money with and did repair-work on.
    Pink it was and Pink it always will be, a wonderful post again and I love the collages, I had to smile when I saw Granny Towanda, I am glad she did not turn Pink while we were having a great time.....
    Thanks for sharing.

  6. Very colorful! Can you believe though that going to a fair - ie any fair of a circus type nature - has been a rare experience in my life?

  7. It looks like a spectacular event. I love fairs, and I think we'll take Lesley and Brian to the county fair this week. It makes me very happy that you live in a place where you can hold hands and feel completely comfortable.

    I just saw these collages over at Vagabonde's, and now you have them. How do you do them? It's like folding out a book illustration. :)

  8. You took quite a few photos that are representative of the activities on the fair. I would love to see this long running festival too.

    I am like you, I just sample a festival and don't stay too long :) So long as I get my shots for the blog and long enough to officially check it off my list.

    Enjoy the new week.

  9. Astrid: Life really is a feast...a moveable one, as we now know. As we say, try anything once. Usually no harm in that, right?! :) It was a fun memory.

    Tim: I didn't grow up going to fairs either, so in that regard we are the same. It didn't really happen for me till my grandson was born and since there was a nice fair just blocks from where we lived, it was easy to start the tradition. Now we can't stop. :)

    Ruth: Ohhhh. To share that this week with Brian and Lesley...I want to be there with you! How fun. I feel sad that my kids didn't grow up with this memory. I guess Nicholas is making up for it!

    You have confused me about the collage question. :( Mine are all done on Picnik, the program YOU put me onto. I LOVE how easy they are to do. I'm actually indebted to you!

    PC: Thank you, Maria. Sometimes all we need is to get the feel of something and then we've had enough. Funny how that is. This was one of those times. Yup. We both got our shots and that was that. :)

  10. I was at the very birth of Pink Monday and every single one after that until we moved to Ireland in 2005. The atmosphere is crazy!! Every time!

    The very first one was highly controversial as many spectators never ever saw before what was shown, and the organization made a big mistake with that one. Why? Because in the afternoon, when moms and dads were on a stroll with their (little) kids, gay and lesbian acts were performed on various stages throughout the city. And I mean acts that leave nothing to the imagination!! Now you have to understand me correctly, I have nothing against sexually oriented acts, either being straight or of a gay nature, but during daytime in the open air, with little kids watching is even a bit too controversial for my liberated believes.

    The organization got big restrictions for the next time and from then onwards it was much better organized when what was shown. The 'heavy' acts only took place in the clubs during the day, so small children could safely walk around again.

    It has been 5 years of not going to the Roze Maandag, and sometimes that feels weird. Maybe next year we will go to Holland for the holidays and be there when it is fair time.

    Glad you liked the 'Heuvelse Kerk' Ginnie. It is about the only genuinely old building left in that city, which was carefully destructed by an over enthusiastic bloody stupid major who decided a city could only be called a city if you tear down all buildings older than 100 years and put up skyscrapers instead.

  11. Flash: Man alive, Woman! You sure do get around. Now you have me curious as to where you lived while you were here in The Netherlands. I still can't get my head around how close everything seems to be to where we live!

    Anyone in their right mind would know certain things do not belong on the daytime "scene," you'd think. UGH. Can't believe they didn't figure that one out ahead of time. At least now things seem to be settled down. We didn't see anything that embarrassed us or made us uneasy before we left, so that's good.

    Thanks for the added tidbit about the church. I needed that. And if we're still here when you come back and it's Pink Monday, give us a holler and we may decide it's okay to go back. :)

  12. My goodness, that is a lot of pink, it's making my eyes hurt just looking at the screen! I'd love to be there in person, but I don't own anyting even remotely resembling pink, my mother said pink didn't go with my red hair!
    A small travelling fair came to my home town in UK every year, as a child I got friendly with one family and they let me help on the hoop-la! stand. Happy days.

  13. Yesterday a CA judge overturned the ban on gay marriages. I looks like the case is going to be heard by the Supreme Court. I happened to wake up at 1:30am last night and couldn't sleep, and when I turned on my computer, I wept at what I read:

    Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker overturned the voter-approved ban known as Proposition 8 Wednesday, declaring that limiting marriage to a man and a woman serves no legitimate purpose and is an "artifact" rooted in "unfounded stereotypes and prejudices."

    Preventing gays from marrying does nothing to strengthen heterosexual unions or serve any purpose that justifies its discriminatory effect, but harms children with same-sex parents and "the state's interest in equality," he wrote.

    The very interesting thing- tho, is that I am reading the article I read at 1:30am, and it is different. Some of the lines have changed, and it's missing some of the quotes- the ones that were really powerful and moving.

    Am I crazy? Did I make those quotes up in my head last night- or did they indeed rewrite the article so as not to offend the conservatives when they woke up this morning to read the news NOT over a cup of coffee?

    May you live to see exciting times...

  14. Hi Ginnie,
    sorry for a late comment; we have both suffered from a really strong summer cold for the past few weeks. Luckely it seems to "vannish", slowly.

    Once again you write a most fascinating and interesting post - combined with your excellent photos.

    Until the Spring of 2009, I did not know the term "Kermis". Yes, it's true.
    First time I heard about it was when in Düsseldorf, at the left Rhein riverbank, where the biggest Kermis along the Rhein takes place every summer.
    It was Hasan that pointed across the Rhein and told about the Kermis, and I said: Really, without understanding what he really meant.
    And I did excuse myself by saying:
    I'm not sure we have that sort of events in Norway.
    (We call it Tivoli...)
    Luckely, Hasan is more interested in good food and excellent wines than riding a rollercoast;-)
    (Hasan is Ingelin's FIL - her MIL is not at all intersted in that sort of activities - she is a painter - next exhibition in Istanbul primo October).
    Tilburg and many more small cities in Holland are full of charm and pleasant activities, and old history and culture just as you communinicate with your pictures. You are really eminent that way.

    We are very happy you now live in a Country that accepts your preferences regarding relationship.
    That's important (We know and have contacts with several here in Norway) - It's the person in question that matters, not their sexual preferences.
    For me the most important is to respect a person for what it is, to have good relationship and also intelligent conversations in a polite way.

    It's so great the both of you can walk hand in hand. We do that as well.
    But, I remember when Ingelin was younger, we allways went hand in hand, until we got strange and suspicious eyes: The Media did write about Fathers and Daughters and you know...
    We both felt we were attacked by misunderstanding and suspious and -- well, we had to stop doing what we felt was the right thing:
    Showing the world we are trusted family.
    On the contrary: When I visited Ingelin at the time she worked in Miami Beach. We went from SOBE to Key West with a 1988 Corvette, cabriolet as we say in Europe.
    Ingelin, blond and young and me with white hair. When we arrive at Key West, you should have seen how many men that gave me a thumbs up and smile and compliments. GRRRR.
    Ingelin just laughed:
    - Papa, they are just men;)

    As said before, hope to see you soon.


    ps. I'm happy to hear you keep up the tradition with Nicholas. It's important for him.

  15. Tor: You are something else! I think we were born twins that year, 1945. Too bad it took us so long to meet each other. :) Thank you for the time and effort you took with this comment. And see, it DID take. Thank you.

  16. Oh, I see. I just didn't realize that if you clicked on the collage a second time it would enlarge it! Very nice to know. :)

  17. Ruth: I learned that from Vagabonde. :)